Tag Archive: Religious Extremism


Understanding Orlando

massshootings

“Internal peace is an essential first step to achieving peace in the world. How do you cultivate it? It’s very simple. In the first place by realizing clearly that all mankind is one, that human beings in every country are members of one and the same family.”

– The Dalai Lama

Great quote by the Dalai Lama and it rings wisdom in light of the Orlando shootings. Still, it’s not that simple is it? 49 people are dead and there are fingers pointing to religious extremism and also gun control in America. I also strongly believe our Western Mideast policy which involves greedy corporations, oil and the backing of various governments is a bloody cursor to all this – but no one ever talks about that (and this is not a political blog so I will leave it there).  The fact is,  I am not going to be able to sum up this tragedy in one blog post, but we can try and begin to understand it all:

Lets step away from gun control and foreign policy for a moment and focus more on religious extremism.  I truly think  one of the major problems is “belief”.  Belief in cultural differences  and more importantly belief in religious ideals that have no scientific or philosophical bearing on society.  Specifically religious beliefs born on blind faith; sometimes radicalized. Blind faith is defined as belief that is not based on reason or evidence. All major religions, excluding Buddhism fall under this definition.  As you know I am not a big fan of organized religion and it is crucial to point out that Buddhism and the Dalai Lama is not religion but a philosophy. Buddhists do not worship idols or believe in blind faith. A Buddhists energy and karma lies firmly on reality, their own shoulders, thoughts and actions and not on blind faith or a mystical god.. Further, people tend to draw their “beliefs” from religion and that is where much of the problems lies. People do not need belief or faith in a religious dogma to know what is wrong or right. I have raised my son completely free of religious dogma and he knows right from wrong. He knows what feels good emotionally from a karmic standpoint and he understands how his thoughts, actions and reactions can either benefit and or hurt himself and others around him. My son is a 15 year experiment in parenting and a non-religious upbringing that proves a simple point. You do not need religion to know right from wrong and you do not need religion to live a well balanced, spiritual life. I personally have found god and True Nature through my own devices and nothing is more powerful. When you find the concept or definition of God within (with self-discovery) you have something special, unadulterated and unique. When you rely on others for God outside your own energy footprint it opens up the person and situations that abide with too much variability. It can invite in radical ideas and levels of ego that are not healthy.

I think it is interesting how all of us are born as innocent little infants – our minds a clean palate – it is society/politics and especially religion that colors that palate and with cultural variability, social status, ego, politics, religion (blind faith) and societal pressures. The common denominator is people  exhibiting all levels of crazy. I do not think people need to have the same belief in regard to cultural values. Our diversity is what makes us beautiful. I think the disconnect is forgoing basic, fundamental human rights before religious and cultural values. There lies the problem. If we put religion second to human value we would all realize we are not that different. When we understand that all of us struggle; that we all suffer. That we all have similar DNA. When people worldwide understand that we all also love and dream. Well, we are not that different at all. As Ram Dass has stated eloquently, “we are all just walking each other home”….

John C. Bader is a photographer, wellness advocate and consultant specializing in spiritual self-evolution, meditation, and bio-energy healing. In his writing, he bridges science with spirituality and provides steps to encourage more mindfulness in daily life. His new book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas is a step by step process on how to begin your very own Hero’s Journey.

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

The Responsive Universe on Facebook

John C. Bader on Twitter

 

Image Credit: Patheos.com

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kingprayer4n-7-webWhen we are born we are naked and vulnerable. Further at birth when we take those first few breaths; there is no evil, there is no racism, there is no religion or concept of God. As newborns we are like a blank canvas; free from social perception, ego, fear, anger, jealousy – even happiness. As newborns early existence is purely  based on subsistence strategies: Warmth and satiation the common denominator.

Other than certain gene precursors, it is society and culture that shapes us into the people we are today – good or bad; saintly or evil. Along the path of adolescence beauty is defined by society. Good and bad behavior is rewarded by the spoils of who is in charge with the most power. Blind faith governs most of our belief systems and people are soon divided by differences rather than united by our commonality.  And some people are more susceptible to this conditioning than others… ….And of course no one is perfect…

Blame big money corporations, close minded partisan news channels, religion and the powerful people who perpetuate this existence as a way to feed their own goals and agendas – rarely meeting our very own personal needs. Humans are flawed creatures; malleable like soft clay; easily molded to fit the form of ego, greed and power. Our needs, wants and desires are twisted and forged  to fit a specific trend or fashion, a specific religion or ideology – sometimes the message and goal so manipulated and bent no one is really sure what the original goal or message was. Anything pure and unadulterated has now been processed, prepackaged, made fun of, yelled at, occasionally hugged and kissed and then shown what is important socially by the few in power that control the collective masses with subliminal control patterns. And that is sugar-coating it….

But on a more visceral level, why do people kill and maim?

The answer to that is difficult. Humanity carries with it many variables so diverse and complex we see every facet of human action and reaction. Some actions are heartwarming and civic. Some actions are so atrocious and gut wrenching its hard to believe we all exist together on this sustainable rock called Earth as one human race. Money, greed, fear, ego and religion drive most of the violence and suffering on our planet. From terrorism to war, from famine to climate change, there is money, lobbyists and a powerful few driving the heartbeat of the world. Many ignorant and weak minded people buy into the lie – some so warped and diseased that they act on our worst fears. Still, there seems to be a disconnect when someone can justify picking up a gun and shooting up a building full of innocent people. This disconnection is rare but when it rears its ugly head it tends to shake us all to the core. I think these type of people have always existed but as technology and social media bind us as one breathing organism, such violence is amplified and the sorrow and pain cuts to the bone.

With all the hatred, pain, and war in the world, people often ask the question, “Why doesn’t God do something?” People are quick to send their prayers but is there a god listening? Is it all just hot air? The answer, however, is quite simple. Bad things happen and exist because of bad people. Likewise, good things happen because of good people. God is not a force that operates on a human level. It is egotistical to think that. God is the Universe, and the Universe is a system whose levels of operation still defy complete understanding. Quantum Physics is beginning to uncover our connections: The Universe does not have a human consciousness; instead, it creates an environment that allows for our independent, conscious thought. The power and energy of God is not contained in one supreme being, but rather, it is an instinctual energy that connects us all and that is everything and everywhere. Its quality is defined as True Nature. All humans are connected to this dynamism. Religions of the past and present are just antennae reaching up to understand and appreciate the Universe. The threads that make up this metaphorical tapestry that illustrates  you and I, God and Universe are all different colors woven together. Yet despite the differences in our explanations for creation and the world, we are all made of the same stuff—the Universe. Our differences within this tapestry of story and explanation, while colorful, are insignificant. We are all here on Earth with the same goal—to revel in the immensity of everything and carve within the Cosmos our own life of happiness and love, to weave our own tapestry, colorful and long.

When we come to realize we are all connected to this tapestry of energy, light and vibration you can see how terrorism and mass shootings shake us to the center of our being. In a way we are all connected to these acts of violence just like every atom and molecule is connected to its own kinship at the sub atomic level. There is no escape. In order to understand the violence we need to understand the source (hence my first three paragraphs). Our only foot forward is to counteract the violence, hate, division and greed with our own love, connection and positive energy. We can do this by living by example. There will always be hate in the world as long as humanity is malleable to money, greed and ego. We can however be mindful that there are other paths to follow. That compassion and love will always win over hate and oppression. All cultures and people need to remember that the moment we all took our first breaths as new born children, there was no hate, ego, racism and division. We were all naked; we were all a blank canvas. Thoughts and virtues were once pure and unadulterated before society, politics and religion twisted them into something less than authentic. I understand that terrorism and mass shootings are in a fucked up world of their own. Still, their extremist roots start somewhere and whether we like it or not, it has to do with whats going on in my first three paragraphs above…  So maybe ask yourself this… How malleable is your mind? You might not be a mass shooter and you probably couldn’t imagine anything so cruel;  but are you part of the problem or part of solution? Do you contribute to societies static or do you bring beautiful silence through celestial wisdom. Do you contribute to the machine or are you a free thinker? Are you a follower or are you able to forge your own path through the tangled forest that is life? These are valid questions…

There will always be storm clouds obscuring the warmth and sunlight but you can’t stop the sun from shining through eventually. Illumination will always find a way…. No matter how big a storm, the sun will shine again! We have to have faith in that notion. We are all connected. Every positive action and reaction does matter.

Image credit: Daily News

John C. Bader is a photographer, wellness advocate and consultant specializing in spiritual self-evolution, meditation, and bio-energy healing. In his writing, he bridges science with spirituality and provides steps to encourage more mindfulness in daily life. His new book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas is a step by step process on how to begin your very own Hero’s Journey.

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

The Responsive Universe on Facebook

John C. Bader on Twitter

 

franceMy thoughts are with the people of Paris…  There is a profound disconnect with these religious extremists and their actions as it relates to the human footprint. I just can’t fathom any gains created by such actions. When we understand the humanity of the world as a collective organism this is a cancer to our wellbeing and future – a complex disease that has been forged from religious dogma, ignorance and a lack of common values. No matter the stark contrasts in culture; there is no justification for errant violence and my heart and energy goes out for the people of France.

What causes this violence? It is as complicated a question that reflects the complex social/political climate of the Middle East. Now, I am not an expert in Middle Eastern politics and sociology but sometimes I feel like I have a better grasp of what is going on than some of our US politicians. It begins with religion; and not just Islam, but Christianity  and Judaism too. If you disagree with that notion then you are also too buried in religious dogma to make a rational synopsis. There is a religious feud and class conflict of cultural values based on religion that spans 2000 years. It is even more complicated within Arab and Middle Eastern cultures with various clans and societal associations fighting for money and power. The struggles between Kurds, Shia Arabs and Sunni Arabs are a good example. We see it in America and western culture too. Remember the Oklahoma City bombings? That was home born religious extremism. Then there is the war on western culture which appears sinful and hedonist to ardent Muslims who interpret the Quran as it was written thousands of years ago when in general society was much more brutal and cut throat. Couple that with western greed and their thirst for oil and profits; the poor standard of living that exists in hot bed countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria and it is a boiling over cauldron of hate that feeds newer generations of Muslim and Middle Eastern children who have little or no future and are taught that western culture is bad. I am not saying this is right and I am definitely not saying that any violence is justifiable (refer to my first paragraph) but this is the situation coupled with many other variables that creates this rift in cultures that again has been present since history itself. US Presidential hopeful and former Governor, Mike Huckabee thinks the Bible should trump the US Supreme Court proving religious zealousness exists in western culture too. Not the same? History has shown that without opposition there is only tyranny. Things have just cooled down lately in western culture; but it was not long ago that people were killed for their scientific beliefs and burned at the stake for alleged witchcraft. Remember the Crusades in history class? The concept of slavery was reinforced by the Bible – so be careful what you defend. All because the Muslim world is leading the charge on beheadings this century does not mean they are leading historically.

How do we stop it? That is a complex question as well. You can’t just bomb extremist groups because all you do is hurt the general public. Boots on the ground is a viable option but it has to be a cautious coalition of Western and Middle Eastern allies with a clear exit strategy. Even then, the casualties will be heavy and a quagmire is possible. And what about the human toll? In the US led Iraq war over 3000 US soldiers died but the Iraqi causalities alone (most of it collateral damage) was in the hundreds of thousands. Is there an exit strategy? There lies more of the complexity – once you pull allied troops and influence out the hot zone the violence and extremism just re-ignites.  Look at Afghanistan since the US has pulled a majority of its troops out – the Taliban has returned.

So it seems you have to stop igniting the hate that breeds this extremism. But will greedy oil companies and the politics interwoven in them stop exploiting the Middle East? And what about the wars that follow in support? We now know the Iraq war was bullshit and anyone that does not see the connection between the rise of ISIS and Bush and Cheney’s wars is living in a Right Wing Republican bubble – Sorry but that involvement did nothing but make Halliburton richer and fan the flames of extremism more. In order to understand the problem you first need to understand that we might be part of the problem. Many people do not see that dynamic and probably don’t care to… Does this mean it is right for extremists to kill people? of course not!  But these extremist do not have large militaries and maniacal corporations to wage their special interests in other countries. All they have is fear mongering and the balls to strap bombs to themselves and kill people – pretty scary shit!  Is western culture going to change its ways? Probably not. Is the US going to pull out of the Middle East and leave Israel to its own devices? Nope…

Hey, if someone comes up to me and tries to kill me, I will defend myself…

But I am not going to prod a huge bee hive just so I can get something sweet. I am not going to walk down a dark, impoverished neighborhood in a decaying US inner city because I know I run the risk of being a target. It is a dangerous and fucked up world out there. The Middle East can be like a bee hive in the back streets of Baghdad.  Religion makes it more messy. Religious dogma breeds isolated thought processes and teaches people to follow doctrine instead of leading with their own heart.  But if everyone lived with a little more compassion and we all realized how our actions might affect each other – maybe there would be less violence. Honestly, I do not see religious extremists changing their ways and I do not see western culture changing its ways. Few people put enough thought into the entire quandary. And fewer people look at both sides of the issues. There lies the problem and coupled with blind faith, religious dogma and ignorance, it is doubtful much will change. I think the first step is understanding that this is a very complex situation that spans thousands of years and is fueled by poverty, ignorance and religions that do not serve the greater good of humanity. Still, killing an innocent person out of hate is the worst kind of karma and negativity. Anyone that thinks a violent action is going to return to them in some positive facet is mistaken. Gravely mistaken!

Again, my heart goes out to those who suffer at the hands of needless violence. Their light and vibration lives on within this grand and beautiful Responsive Universe.

NOTE: The violence in France is sad and unfortunate – but there are Terrorist attacks almost daily in countries that main stream media and people don’t give shit about. The day before Paris there was a terrible bombing in Beirut but no one talks about that – apparently there is no money in advertising and no reach on social media avenues like FB for apparently forgettable countries – something to think about….

John C. Bader is a photographer, wellness advocate and consultant specializing in spiritual self-evolution, meditation, and bio-energy healing. In his writing, he bridges science with spirituality and provides steps to encourage more mindfulness in daily life. His new book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas is a step by step process on how to begin your very own Hero’s Journey.

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

The Responsive Universe on Facebook

John C. Bader on Twitter

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